Undergraduate Major

Physics Major (BS)

Learn innovative techniques for studying the physical laws that govern space, time, matter, and energy when you major in physics. With an on-campus observatory and student research opportunities, these topics have never been more accessible.

Students with physics equipment

Program Overview

Explore the fundamental principles that govern life in the universe when you major in physics at Widener. From elementary particles to the large-scale structure of the observable universe, you'll gain the critical and creative skills necessary to explore and innovate in a wide range of careers.

You'll receive broad exposure to experimental, mathematical, and computational analysis techniques in small classes and labs. Faculty cherish the chance to get to know you and your personal goals and will encourage you every step of the way.

Along with state-of-the-art labs, you'll have unparalleled access to the 16” Meade Cassegrain telescope at Widener’s observatory. You'll conduct research that could take you to the Lowell Observatory and Anderson Mesa dark-sky viewing station in Flagstaff, Arizona.

When you graduate, you won't just be starting a career—you'll continue the work you've been doing all along.

Program Options

View the Loading... for curriculum and coursework requirements for the physics major.

A special curriculum allows students to earn dual degrees in either physics/electrical engineering BS/BSEE or physics/mechanical engineering BS/BSME.

Details of the curriculum can be obtained by the chairman of the engineering program or the associate dean of science.

Astronomy Minor

The astronomy minor is designed to provide a broad sampling of astronomy and astronomy-related courses for nonscience majors.

View the Loading... for curriculum and coursework requirements.

Astrophysics Minor

The astrophysics minor requirements are designed to provide an introduction to the field of astrophysics.

View the Loading... for curriculum and coursework requirements.

Physics Minor

A physics minor is an appropriate option for students majoring in disciplines such as engineering, mathematics, computer science, and chemistry.

View the Loading... for curriculum and coursework requirements.

Students interested in teaching high school can pursue either a major in Loading... or a major in physics with additional education requirements. To pursue a physics major and secondary education certification requirements, please consult with your academic advisor to develop a plan.

The Honors in Physics program is for students who wish to extend their studies beyond the requirements for a BS in physics. Students wishing to graduate with honors must complete a senior thesis. The senior thesis is intended to provide an opportunity for students to participate in an independent, investigative research project with recognition of their commitment and motivation to exceed the requirements of the traditional physics degree. The students will carry out novel laboratory, theoretical, or observational research in physics or astronomy. The program includes a three-semester sequence (PHYS 408, PHYS 409 and PHYS 410). Students must defend their theses before a committee and earn a minimum grade of “A–” in PHYS 409 and PHYS 410 to receive the honors designation.

Admissions Information

Applying to Widener is easy—and free! Simply complete our Widener Application or the Common Application. You'll also need your official high school transcript and either an admissions essay or your SAT/ACT scores. We're a test-optional school, so there's no need to submit both.

Know you're interested in applying to Widener but unsure if you're ready to zero-in on a major? You can apply as an Exploratory Studies student with an undecided major. This program will help you start your college journey on the right foot while you explore which undergraduate program is the right fit for you.

When to Apply​

We accept applications on a rolling basis—there are no hard deadlines. Apply when you're ready and we'll take a look as soon as we receive your app. 

Key dates to keep in mind:​

  • October 1: FAFSA opens for the next academic year (Widener's school code is 003313)​
  • November 1: Early Action deadline and decision notifications begin​

What to Expect After Applying​

Once we receive your application and all materials, you can expect to hear back from us quickly. Along with your application decision, you'll also find out about any merit-based scholarship awards. You're automatically considered for merit scholarships as soon as you apply—you don't need to apply separately.

Learn more about the application process

If you apply before November 1, you are considered an Early Action applicant which comes with benefits like:

  • Receiving your admissions decision by Thanksgiving
  • Early consideration for merit-based scholarships
  • Early notification of financial aid offers, including need-based awards
  • Priority enrollment for summer registration—where you sign up for classes!

All applications are non-binding, so why wait? Apply today!

Our admissions team will help you make the most of college-level credits earned after high school. We maintain strong partnerships and articulation agreements with numerous local community colleges and also accept a wide range of course credits earned at accredited colleges and universities.

Curious about how many credits may transfer? Email your transcripts to transfer@widener.edu and our transfer coordinator will personally review your coursework as an unofficial credit evaluation. Applicants are given priority during busy seasons, but you don't have to apply to work with our transfer coordinator. 

Transferring doesn't have to be a guessing game—share your stats and we'll take it from there! 

Learn more about applying as a transfer student

Widener University serves as a "second home" for students from around the world. We are located just outside of Philadelphia and close to New York City and Washington, D.C.—offering many unique professional and personal opportunities to explore.

Want to know what it's like to be an international student on campus or need assistance navigating English proficiency requirements? We're here to help, and our international admissions director will support you through the application process. 

This support doesn't end with admissions—our International Student Support team will serve as a valuable resource throughout your Widener journey—meeting Visa/immigration requirements, getting acclimated to campus, and much more.

Learn more about applying as an international student

Program Highlights

Students in observatory

Access State-of-the-Art Equipment and Research Sites

The physics department belongs to the National Undergraduate Research Observatory (NURO) plus you'll get unparalleled access to the 16” Meade Cassegrain telescope at Widener’s observatory. You'll even have the chance to travel to the Lowell Observatory and Anderson Mesa dark-sky viewing station in Flagstaff, Arizona to participate in astronomical research projects.

Dr Augensen in observatory

Distinguished Faculty Mentors

You'll work closely with the physics and astronomy faculty, gaining mentors in your professors and academic advisor. Faculty members are researching topics from quantum optics and stellar evolution to the large-scale structure of the universe, and they'll help you get started on your own independent undergraduate research too.

Student in lab

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

You'll have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on research projects and even publish in peer-reviewed journals. As for independent research, you can complete a senior thesis, investigate a novel idea in physics or astronomy, and defend your work before a thesis committee. Recently, students have completed studies on active galactic nuclei and sonoluminescence. 

Clubs & Organizations

Physics majors have the opportunity to join various clubs and organizations across and outside of campus to expand their network, including the Physics and Astronomy Club, the Sigma Pi Sigma - Physics Honor Society, and many more

Faculty

Our professors invest in your success through close mentoring and continual feedback. Get to know our physics and astronomy faculty.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Astrophysics
  • Architectural/structural engineering
  • Education
  • Industrial research
  • Medical physics

Industry Growth

Overall employment of physicists and astronomers is projected to grow 8% by 2030, as fast as the average for all occupations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Recent Employers

  • Boeing
  • Drexel University
  • Cornell University
  • Lockheed
  • PECO

Alumni Connections

The physics department holds an end-of year celebration for students and alumni that includes a talk by a graduate of the department. You'll network with these distinguished graduates, perhaps landing an internship.

Take the Next Steps

Apply

Applying online has never been easier—and it’s free! We also accept the Common Application. Take the next step toward joining the Widener Pride.

Get in Touch